I was standing on a dock on the Homosassa River over the weekend praying for my church, my city, the lost, the wanderer and Easter. While on the dock staring out over the water I was remembering my baptism and just what it meant to me. I remember October 1991 walking down into the waters of baptism in Dade City Florida and having Pastor Joe Register and Pastor Todd Neveu share in this sacred moment with me. They paused to let me profess my faith and new life in Christ and then down into the water I went. I felt like the whole world could see that Jesus had washed away my sins. I couldn’t take out my heart and my spirit and show them but I could follow my Savior and King in baptism demonstrating an outward sign of an inward change. I came up out of the waters with tears streaming down my face and my hands raised high in worship to Jesus. I will never forget that moment I had never felt so clean in my life. Jesus had performed heart surgery and then he washed away all my sins making me clean and free of all my guilt and shame. From that day to this I have always considered baptism sacred and holy. I have been privileged to be a part of hundreds of baptisms and each is just as special as the next. I really believe that the reason I hold baptism in such high regard is because of what it meant to me. Easter sunrise baptisms are just incredible from 2003 to 2009 I was privileged to be in the waters of baptism on Easter. Just when I thought baptism couldn’t be any more meaningful or special in 2003 I was invited to participate in Easter sunrise baptisms. My life was never the the same. When I saw the sun breaking forth on Easter morning and I was standing there with people whose lives had been changed by the Master I could hardly speak totally overwhelmed by God’s grace and filled with awestruck wonder at His love. For six years I was given the gift of baptizing people on Easter Sunday morning and I am forever grateful. I didn’t care about the weather, the cold, the waves, I was first to volunteer because there is absolutely nothing like it on the planet. Last year I was in a place of transition and I was unable to participate in baptism. I know I have brought it up a lot over the past few weeks but pain only goes away if you talk about it and let the healing begin. I felt so alone and so empty on Easter the biggest celebration in the Christian faith. I was looking out into the future totally uncertain of what would happen but full of faith and expectation. Yet I was crushed to dust on the inside and feeling like an alien in a strange land. I can’t apologize for how I feel. As I stood on the pier looking down at the long line of people waiting to be baptized I watched people’s faces and my heart filled with joy and a little bit of the pain was washed away. Some I had eagerly and strongly desired to be a part of their baptism but it wasn’t meant to be. I put on the best smile I could and tried to hide the pain for the sake of others. I stared off a few times into the rising sun worshiping God and remembering what that sun rise on this special day symbolized. I heard God whisper a promise into my ear. As I stood on the pier in Homosassa praying I was taken back to that moment and I heard that familiar whisper again. My eyes filled with tears at the grace of God. I thought to myself, “My salvation and all of this too! God you are so good, too good to me!” By God’s grace I am six days away from living out yet another promise that God has made to me. A little bit of that pain has been washed away each time I have worked through this over the past year. I have a feeling on Easter sunrise 2011 my pain will be totally washed away and my story will be used for God’s glory as I baptize people from my church plant at the Gandy Bridge Beach fulfilling a promise whispered into the ear of a broken warrior on the shoreline a year ago. Not only does Jesus wash away our sin He also washes away our pain. If you have never witnessed an Easter sunrise baptism I invite you to come out and join us at the Gandy Bridge Beach St. Petersburg, FL 6:45 am Easter Sunday morning you will never be the same again. Now to the King Eternal to the Lord immortal may your name forever be praised. My chains are gone I’ve been set free my God my Savior ransomed me! Today I, my sins, and my pain are being washed away in the waves of God’s amazing grace. Glory to God Forever!